Manchester United: “F*ck Sarriball,” “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing” Oh but he does. He knows exactly what he is doing and he refuses to change it. There is a difference, and to my mind it makes it worse. Have you heard this quote about how he hasn’t worked on scoring yet? Apparently all the work he’s done, and its nearly March, has been focused on defending and we haven’t got to that part yet. There was also the priceless quote about how he would rather not have brought Zappacosta on against United too. “The system is a false problem. I know very well that when we are losing I have to put a striker on the pitch. But I want to see football in another way.” If this way doesn’t include attempting to win, then I am at a loss. It’s like listening to a nicotine-stained Yoda.
I did the notes for this game, but if I’m honest, I was having a sh*tter of a week, including a bereavement and no part of me wanted to sit and write the same thing again about our manager’s total refusal to display any adaptability or change anything in the face of adversity. Much like everyone else, when that third substitution came along I could have gauged my eyes out with my bare hands. I’ll stick it into the book at the end of the season. We need say nothing more about this fiasco, for CHO’s evil side eye encapsulated the feelings of all perfectly.
In the News: A transfer ban. Brilliant.
Why? It’s got to do with the signing of minors.
Are we guilty? There were charges on nearly 90 players. Most have been chalked off. But we’ve been found guilty on 29 counts. Chelsea categorically refute the charges and plan to appeal.
How long? We wouldn’t be able to sign anyone until summer 2020. But the club would hope that the appeal would stall it long enough for us to go shopping in May. Don’t forget the Pulisic deal is already done. We do have a monstrous 41 players on loan too, so the likes of Michy, Kenedy, Mason Mount could find themselves punted up the pecking order.
What about players leaving? It may mean the likes of Hazard and CHO staying, as we’d be loathe to let anyone go. Contractually its thought we could keep Higuain, but not Kovacic.
Wenger to Chelsea. F*ck. And. Off. We’ve already been Wengered by Sarri we don’t want the genuine article coming in. The Press Plebs did their best to trip Rudiger up in the press conference, and they got enough of a sound bite to flog. He mentioned the incessant lecturing and how tiring it can be under the current manager. But then of course they completely downplayed his support of Sarri. Morata promised Simeone he’d sign for Atletico before he joined us. The revelation that he’s a rat is not newsworthy anymore. It’s long since been registered.
The Others: Mane has been robbed twice now while playing in Europe. More hilariously, they failed to score at home and are up against it now. City got a scare against Schalke, who couldn’t quite hold on. Stellar reporting from the Daily Fail as usual. Ozil has apparently played his way back into Emery’s good graces during Arsenal’s win over Malmo. Sigh.
Us: Starting Kovacic and Barkley. What was he going to do when it came to the substitutions?Hudson-Odoi started. Ruben was fit again after another back issue.
Them: Some blokes I didn’t recognise accompanied by a lively Swedish contingent. They were all wearing matching sports bras under their shirts. Odd.
It was not an inspiring start. Actually the entire half was atrocious. Kovacic was woeful, constantly bailed out by Kante. Only their inaccuracy saved us on 13 when Rudi was hung out to dry by CHO, who got an ear-lashing for his transgression. It was a rare error, for he was a beacon of hope in a raging sh*tstorm. By 18 minutes we’d woken up. Slightly. However Sarri was already sucking on his fifth fag butt, or the same one for the fifth time. Either way. Ew. If we play like this against City on Sunday, being 4-0 down after twenty minutes will flatter us. Somehow, the most uninspiring corner in the history of the world almost led to a messy goal on 31. By this time we’d actually managed to turn the possession around, for they had been on top until then. Hurrah. I could have stayed at home and translated some French war diaries instead of watching this dross. But then I wouldn’t have got to hang out with my most excellent Fancast brethren in corporate. The venerable Chidge and JK – the Smartie Pimp of Stamford Bridge. Malmo like rolling about on the floor. In Sweden, apparently if you lose possession it counts as a foul against you. I saw hardier netball players in my youth than this lot flapping their arms and crying at an extremely gullible referee. Finally a fair chance for Barkley on 40, one that he made entirely for himself.
Jesus wept. Its a good thing we were in the posh seats, for when we went into the lounge at halftime there was a gin on the table for me. God bless you, lovely Bill. Though it would have taken more than one to dull the pain of that crapfest. And God bless Chelsea for providing bottomless pic’n’mix too. Because if I hadn’t been high on refined sugar I might have cried.
When we emerged for the second half we could hardly see the pitch for smoke. A cynic, which I am, might think that it was a ploy from Chelsea to hide how awful to watch we were. As it turns out some very determined Scandinavians were willing to shove flares in some very rude places to get them in. I dare you to find a £10 an hour steward who will be willing to ferret those out at the gate.
It wasn’t much better first off. The pitch invasion was the highlight so far, and even he gave up halfway across. Then something funny happened. Just as Chidge was saying, “this is going to be a tedious 0-0 and…” Kante was bursting forth, scorning all that is Sarri, ignoring his angles and simply running with the ball at his feet. He’s going to be in trouble. He might as well have run over to the East Stand and mooned Chidge to boot. The cigarette fug that lingers over our squad like a London pea-souper of old seemed to suddenly lift, the ranks led by Hudson-Odoi, who flicked the ball on to set us off for a second on 63, though The Beard put it in from an offside position.
They now needed three goals which wasn’t going to happen, despite the referee, and especially not after he sent one of them off. A second goal followed from a Barkley free kick. Does he even do free kicks? Kante off for a spanking along with Ross to be replaced by Ruben and Jorginho on 75. I may have just been off my tits on sugar, but was the latter really booed by Chelsea Fans? I don’t recall it. Certainly not on the stadium wide level they’ve obviously reported it as in the Red Swarm. Ampadu was getting ready to come on, though from our prime spot we laughed at how he was subjected to a five page lecture from a folder before he was even allowed to remove his tracksuit. On he came for Dave, who despite his obvious effort is really lagging form-wise at the moment. The youngster is a future captain if he stays, Im sure of it. Straight away bossing everyone around and organising the defence. CHO was the star of the show by this point. “They only score when they don’t so what Sarri says” was one interpretation by us. CHO could have got another, Ruben too came close. It was the Chelsea Academy Show. Odds on one of them getting a start at Wembley? We’ve earned ourselves a trip to Kiev in the next round, with the temptation of a snoop around Chernobyl while we’re there…
So: You’ll notice that I haven’t said “sack him” or “Sarri out,” I don’t see the point in shrieking about it. I regret that we are in this position again. I advocated bringing in a manager further down the pecking order in terms of previous glory instead of another prima donna, and this is what Chelsea did. That said, so far as Sarri is concerned, though he may have the potential somewhere to make his style of football work, it wont be in England and this is a failed experiment. Roma apparently want him. He’s demonstrated that he’s not willing to adapt to the Premier League, and that his stubbornness will be his, (and our) downfall this season. But more than anything, the thing that sticks in my throat is that he’s not once turned up to watch the emerging talent at the club. What kind of long term plan does he have if he isn’t interested in maximising his resources, knowing his personnel and bring them through as well as buying players in? Even if we pull off a miracle on Sunday, or in Europe, I still don’t see a future for him at the club. Plus he’s a miserable killjoy. Can he reap the positivity of CHO’s performance last night? No. Says he would have to get rid of Hazard, Pedro or Willian to make room for him. The latter sounds like a plan to me. Considering CHO has twelve years on him and the whole of Europe appears willing to offer stupid money for the Brazilian. I think the only reason Sarri is still here at this point is because it would be cruel and pointless to put a new guy in only to get pummelled on Sunday, because there is little time to effect that. The axe may well fall after Wembley, and there is apparently someone is already lined up to step in. My plan is to get sh*tfaced before kick off and laugh my way through it. See you on the other side.